Here is a history of this great moment of BrahMos-A (culled from various sources):
The air-launched version (BrahMos-A) which was expected to be tested by end-2014, could be done only in c. 2017 (November, 22, 2017). Its launcher hads been ground tested but a wrangle with Russia on redesigning (strengthening the underbelly and some other design changes to the fuselage) had held up the test. In December, 2012, ahead of Russian President Putin’s visit, India and Russia inked a deal for the air-launched BrahMos with the expectation that the first such missile would be tested before June, 2013. Apart from one Su-30 MKI in Russia, two Su-30MKI of the IAF were to be modified by the HAL at its Nashik facility where they will also be integrated with the aerial launcher developed by BATL, Thiruvananthapuram. The Russians quoted USD 250 M which was not acceptable to India and so DRDO decided to do the project entirely on its own (BrahMos Chief in AeroIndia 2017 lecture) to strengthen the Su-30 MKI's fuselage to take on the launcher from which the missile, with a take-off mass of 2,500 kg, would be gravity-dropped. On October 18, 2012, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the Rs. 6000 Crore proposal by the IAF to acquire 200 air-launched BrahMos missiles. Fabricated using high strength aluminium, the 6-metre-long airborne launcher — the largest in the world — weighs 350 kg. This was the first time that India built any launcher at all, leave alone building the world’s heaviest launcher. The undercarriage of the Su-30MKI was strengthened to take the extra weight. The missile weight was brought down from 2.9 tonnes to 2.4 tonnes. In November 2012, Defence sources said that the missile would be qualified against targets at sea and on land in a staggered fashion before the end of 2013. After successful integration of the launcher with the aircraft, a dummy missile would be flown, to test the release mechanism of the launcher. This will be followed by a few test-flights of the ‘electronic missile,’ meant to check the electronic circuits and the cockpit-controlled release mechanism. Firing of live missile against designated targets will take place towards the end of 2014.
In February 2014, the BrahMos Chief, Dr. Sivathanu Pillai said that the missile itself and the launchers were ready for the Su-30 MKI. He said, “"The missile has been cleared for flight after simulation tests. Work is now underway in the Hindustan Aeronautics facility at Nasik to strengthen the Sukhoi fuselage to ensure the fighter can carry the heavy missile. After integration, we plan to test the missile from the fighter in December," An official said, “It will take another three months to perfect the Sukhoi's software and mission computer for the BrahMos missiles”. In October 2014, BrahMos Chief Dr. Sudhir Mishra said that a dummy missile would be air-dropped from a Su-30 MKI early 2015 and the actual missile would be fired in March, 2015. The BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Mishra said in mid-September, 2015 that the air-launch tests will commence from November, 2015. In November 2015, the HAL Chairman Suvarna Raju sounded very positive of imminent tests. According to an October 2015 report, the first test, a dead weight one, of the BrahMos integrated Sukhoi was likely to take place soon. The second test would be by firing a dummy missile while the third and fourth stages of testing would be with actual missile, but without the 200 kg warhead to validate the guidance system and accuracy. Two Sukhois would be used for the tests which would be completed in 2016. In end May 2016, The Hindu, quoting BrahMos sources said that the missile would be fired from a Su-30 MkI in the coming weeks.
Finally, it was on June 25, 2016 that the first Su-30 MKI flew with the 2.5 Tonne BrahMos strapped to its centerline, for 45 minutes at HAL, Nashik. The first separation test was successfully achieved on August 31, 2016. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, said that they plan to fly and drop a real missile against a target around October or November, 2016 after another 15-20 flights to evaluate the performance of the missile-ready fighter. During Aero-India 2017, Dr. Sudhir Mishra, BrahMos Chief, said that the test would be carried out in the ‘next few months’. HAL has modified two Sukhois for test purposes without any help at all from the Sukhoi manufacturers. In October 2016, news emerged that BrahMos-A was being tweaked to give it an ability to hit aircraft carriers and a test against a derelict warship would be conducted in the Bay of Bengal sometime in December, 2016. This will be at an angle of 65 degrees while the Phase-2 tests in c. 2017 would aim to achieve 90 degree attack on an aircraft carrier with a new radar-seeker to help it acquire and lock-on to a moving target.
In June 2017, it was announced that after six sets of carriage separation trials, a live firing of BrahMos-A from a Su-30 MKI would be carried out in July, 2017. Finally, BrahMos-A was tested successfully on Nov, 22, 2017 when Ministry of Defence (MoD) made the following announcement: “BrahMos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile, created history on 22nd November, 2017 after it was successfully flight tested first time from the Indian Air Foce’s front line fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal. The missile was gravity dropped from the Su-30 from fuselage, and the two-stage missile’s engine fired up and straightaway propelled towards the intended target at sea in the Bay of Bengal.” Other sources indicated that the target, a ship, was at a range of 280 Kms. and it was a direct hit. During AeroIndia 2017 (February 2017), The BrahMos Chief said that BrahMos weapon system has been tested so far 55 times with a success rate of above 99%.
BrahMos-A has a length of 8550 mm and can be launched at any height between 500m and 9000m. It falls freely for 100-150m before firing. It has a cruise phase altitude of up to 14000m and a terminal phase altitude of 5-15 m. A Brahmos air launch is a relatively straightforward affair. Before take-off, the target coordinates are fed into the missile. When the Su-30MKI reaches the designated launch point, probably just short of the border to maximise range, the pilot releases the Brahmos. The missile drops clear of the aircraft before its booster ignites; then, powered by a ramjet, it quickly accelerates to more than twice the speed of sound providing little reaction time to enemy air defence fighters and missiles. Guided by navigation satellites, its inertial navigation system takes it precisely to its target. Integrating the Brahmos with the Su-30MKI encountered several technical challenges. IIT Mumbai assisted with studies in "computational fluid dynamics" to ascertain that the giant missile did not create disruptive airflow that would destabilise the fighter or starve its two engines of air. The IAF has placed an order for more than 40 missiles to equip the two squadrons. For the IAF, the suitable platforms for Brahmos are the Su-30MKI and for the navy Russian Il-38SD ASW aircraft and, in a few years' time, the Boeing P-8I Poseidon ASW aircraft. The IAF is planning to deploy it on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) being developed with Russia, after reducing the weight of the missile to below 2 tonnes. Eventually, only 42 Su-30 MkI fighters would be fitted with BrahMos-A missiles. Besides BrahMos-A, the IAF also has two squadrons (80 missiles per squadron) of surface-launched BrahMos Block-II Land Attack missiles in order to take out enemy communication towers, radars, runways etc. BrahMos release on May 27, 2016 said that recently IAF had tested these missiles successfully.
On Air Force Day, October 5, 2017, the IAF Chief B.S.Dhanoa said that BrahMos-A would be test-fired before December, 2017. The successful conclusion of zero-CEP Brahmos-A would be a lethal anti-maritime weapon around the A&N island chain.The Radar, Seeker & Propulsion technologies of BrahMos-A come from Russia. The radar is a mono-pulse X-band Imaging Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) unlike TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) radars used in slow-flying (sub-sonic) cruise missiles. It uses this special radar which gets its updates from the GPS/Russian GLONASS and flies across many way-points (where the flight changes its path instead of the traditional trajectory which can be monitored) to evade enemy radars. Because of this peculiarity, and the super-sonic speed, BrahMos is impossible to be intercepted. The BrahMos seeker – seeker SGH – is made by the Russian company, Granit Joint Stock Company. It has the capability for accurate terminal guidance, where the seeker takes over from the GPS supported radar to hit the target. DRDO has recently developed an indigenous seeker which involves numerous domestic companies especially Data Pattern and ECIL. The BrahMos propulsion involves two-stage motor, of which the booster is the first stage and the ramjet engine being the other one. In order to reduce the weight of the BrahMos-A by 500kg as compared with the navy and army version of BrahMos, the booster size has been reduced with the ramjet engine remaining the same weight. This has been done since BrahMos-A fired from the Su-30MKI will already be at an altitude and will have an initial velocity that do not require much boost to enter the cruise phase powered by the ramjet engine. The challenge, however, will be in the miniaturisation of BrahMos-A so that three missiles – BrahMos NG – instead of the present single missile on the Su-30MKI can be loaded. This will require a new ramjet engine, work on which is underway with Russia.